Book review: The Motion of the Body Through Space

Lionel Shriver’s turn of phrase is an art form in this exploration of obsession, jealously and – ultimately – stoic love.

From the very first line, Lionel Shriver’s The Motion of the Body Through Space sets the tone of wry commentary in a well-worn marriage, as the husband declares himself suddenly taken by the idea of fitness. Not just fitness, but endurance – namely, a marathon.

Throughout the novel, our leading lady Serenata wends her way through politics, the desires of her husband, the rise of fitness fanatics, and her own body’s demise. We feel her frustration, her incredulity, but also her loyalty. Tested to its limits, very much on a knife edge, we nevertheless get a sense of the warmth and heart behind this aloof and self-assured woman.

By contrast, husband Remington blusters, puffing his chest with indignation at any possible reason why he shouldn’t achieve anything he sets his sights on. He is, of course, a sympathetic character, forced into early retirement and now without his identity and source of pride.

Throughout the unravelling story, the selfishness of both parties is apparent – but equally not surprising nor unrealistic. We’re reminded of the fallibility of people – both physically and emotionally – and can instantly relate with the complex relationship borne from years of living and growing together.

Whether you’re at the start of a marriage, nearing the end, somewhere in between or on a different path, Shriver’s exquisite and unique writing will have you laughing, crying, and cheering the finishers.

 

 

This book was originally reviewed for LoveReading.


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